It's normal — even healthy — to fantasize. Imagination is a positive force in many areas of our lives, and our sex lives are no exception.
Maybe you're dreaming solo. Or perhaps you're looking to share your fantasies with someone else or even act them out. Either way, stories are 100% kosher as long as you hold to three major principles:
Keep those three in your head, and enjoy the fantasies that pop up — guilt-free.
Even if your sexual fantasy isn't the most common, you're in good company. And it can be advantageous to share your fantasies with someone else.
Read on for answers to sexual fantasy FAQs, starting with defining what sexual fantasies are. You'll also find a little how-to on talking about and enacting popular stories.
What Is a Sexual Fantasy?
Put simply. Sexual fantasy is any image or idea that arouses you. These fantasies can be vague or full of detail.
They can either be grounded in your real love life or downright impossible. You could fantasize about your partner's touch or about an orgy that takes place on a dimension-traveling spaceship with aliens.
Even if theoretically possible, not all sexual fantasies are sexual desires, i.e., things you want to try.
Is It Normal to Have Sexual Fantasies?
Yes. It's not only normal — it's common.
Does Everyone Have Sexual Fantasies?
No. While it's normal to have sexual fantasies, it's also okay not to fantasize. For example, some individuals on the asexuality spectrum have thoughts with an erotic charge, but others do not.
Are Sexual Fantasies Healthy?
Sexual fantasies contribute to multiple areas of your life. They can jumpstart your brain, increase your self-esteem, and benefit your relationship.
A recent study discovered that sexual fantasy engages the analytical part of our brain. A good old-fashioned daydream may be just the thing to prepare you to focus and tackle some challenging problems.
Your fantasy life gives you the freedom to explore different parts of yourself. People often change their sexual fantasies, adopting traits they admire in real life.
Rock Your Relationship
You can make your relationship stronger just by fantasizing about your mate. Doing so increases your desire for them in real life. In addition, these sexual fantasies seem to lead to behavior that promotes the relationship instead of harming it.
When Do Sexual Fantasies Become Dysfunctional or Unhealthy?
First of all, sexual fantasies should never lead you to neglect any of the big three — consent, safety, and respect.
Sexual fantasies can be dysfunctional when they're linked to compulsive sexual behavior. Warning signs include:
- Out-of-control urges or behaviors that take up much of your time
- Difficulty sustaining healthy relationships
- Using sex as an escape from other mental health issues
- Engaging in sexual behavior that has severe consequences
If you're worried about compulsive sexual behavior, speak to a medical professional.
Why Do People Have Sexual Fantasies?
There are many reasons that people indulge in a little mental recreation. Some of the most popular reasons include:
- The desire to become sexually aroused
- Sexual curiosity
- Unfilled sexual needs
- The desire to escape from reality
- Socially taboo sexual desires
- A plan for a future sexual engagement
The motivation for sexual fantasy comes from various places and can change by the hour. Sometimes, people fantasize out of simple boredom.
What Are Some Popular Sexual Fantasies?
There are certainly some chart-topping themes on people's sexual fantasy playlists, but if your personal favorite doesn't make a list, don't worry. There is an incredible amount of diversity in the sexual activities that people think about and practice.
In a massive 2018 survey, Justin J. Lehmiller, Ph.D., discovered that most (but not all) sexual fantasies fall into one of the following seven categories.
It may not surprise you to learn that multiple-partner experiences are the answer to the question, "What is the most common male sexual fantasy?" But it isn't just the men who find their engines revving at the idea of group sex.
Anything that contains an imbalance of power and control belongs in this category. The most common fantasies are BDSM-related: bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, masochism.
The Variety Show
People crave novelty and adventure. Their mental NSFW channels often turn to something they haven't tried before, such as anal play or sex in a different environment.
Sexy Secrets and Taboos
There's a definite thrill to getting away with something, and that statement holds when it comes to sex. Fetishes such as voyeurism and exhibitionism fall into this category, as do more unusual desires.
People want more than quick and easy encounters. Many fantasies revolve around emotional connection and romance.
Many people fantasize about sex with someone other than their partner. Non-monogamous fantasies include polyamory and swinging as well as open relationships.
Coloring Outside the Lines
Sometimes, you want to explore your sexual and gender identity and expression boundaries. Fantasies that take you outside your ordinary orientation and role are prevalent.
Should You Act On Your Sexual Fantasy?
First, let's assume that your sexual fantasy is possible (although cosplay makes alien orgies a little more attainable).
It's also essential to adhere to local laws. These statutes often exist to protect people from unwanted touch, invasions of privacy, or unwanted displays.
Safety matters. Don't abandon safer sex practices. Anything that could inflict physical or mental damage should be kept to the imagination.
Once you've established that your fantasy is possible, legal, and safe, it's time to ask yourself whether this is a desire or just fun to think about. You may like the idea of something that would make you uncomfortable in real life.
Still game? Then you might be ready to talk about your fantasies with a consenting partner.
How to Talk About Sexual Fantasies
Discussing your innermost desires can be scary. It's a conversation that requires a certain amount of trust. When you've reached that level of comfort, here are a few tips that can help you have a productive conversation.
Identify your goal in sharing this fantasy. Do you want to incorporate it into your dirty talk, watch porn together, try to make it happen, or do something else entirely?
Don't put pressure on your partner. They may not be ready — now or ever — to go on this journey with you. Listen to their reservations with empathy and understanding.
Talking to a therapist first may help — particularly if you're nervous about the nature of your fantasy.
- Remember that sexual fantasies are normal.
How to Try Out Sexual Fantasies
Excitement is good — and careful planning will only enhance your anticipation as you set yourself up for the best experience possible.
Do your research when trying something new. Look into how to perform the activity safely and to everyone's satisfaction.
Establish boundaries and clear channels of communication. Talk beforehand, during, and after the encounter. Have a safe word so that any participant can call things off at any time.
Take things slowly. There's no rush. Besides, amazing sex should be savored!
Sex Toys to Fulfill Sexual Fantasies
Having an incredible sex drive and diverse desires, just because other people have different fantasies. Everyone is welcome to be a freak in the sheets behind closed doors.
You need to find what feels suitable for your personality and do it more often. If that means experimenting with different luxury sex toys, do it!
You Are Not Alone
Or maybe you are, in a strictly literal sense, but you have nothing to be ashamed about. Sexual fantasies are normal and healthy.
Again, remember the big three:
With those in place, enjoy the fruits of your imagination. You've earned it.
The Difference Between a Sexual Fantasy and a Sexual Desire. (April 2021). Sex & Psychology.
Sexual fantasy and masturbation among asexual individuals. (August 2014). The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality.
How Fantasies Affect Focus. (March 2020). Scientific American.
What your sexual fantasies say about you. (October 2018). CNN.
Compulsive sexual behavior. (Visited April 2021). MAYO CLINIC.
Why Do People Have Sexual Fantasies?. (August 2018). Psychology Today.
More than one flavour: University students’ specific fantasies, interests, and experiences. (August 2019) The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality.
Our 7 Most Common Sexual Fantasies. (November 2019). Psychology Today.
Actually Realistic Advice for How to Share Your Sexual Fantasies. (August 2019). SELF.The 7 Most Common Sexual Fantasies and What to Do About Them. (October 2019). Healthline.